The Government has just launched the first ever Irish Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme, which commenced on July 1st and will run up to the end of October 2012.
It is a pilot scheme and will be reviewed in light of impact and experience. The easement on visa restrictions has long been sought by the Tourism Industry, and so this initiative has been widely welcomed.
Realistically, however, the markets at which the initiative is aimed are in the early stages of travel development, and significant results should not be expected in the short term. Long distance trips from these emerging markets are planned well in advance, and that is why it is imperative that the Visa Waiver scheme be continued well past the initial trial period, if these new markets are to be given a chance of developing meaningful visitor volumes. But the scheme can be a useful and potentially lucrative development once it is extended.
Basically the main point of the programme is that persons granted leave to enter the U.K. as a general visitor will be able to travel to Ireland within the validity of their leave to remain in the U.K. without the requirement to obtain an Irish Visa. But they must enter the U.K. first.
Nationals of the following countries are proposed, for inclusion in the programme, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China.
CLICK HERE for full details on the Visa Waiver Programme (MS Word Format).
July 12th, 2011